Judy Orem, a survivor of chronic myeloid leukemia, who was diagnosed in 1995, was one of the first patients on the phase I STI-571 Gleevec (imatinib) trial in 1996. 

Orem said participants in the trial were doing too well to participate in other support groups offered by the Leukemia & Leukemia Society—and so they formed their own.

“The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society came over, and we said, ‘We’d like to have a support group, but we don’t want to belong to the one that you already have organized, because we’re all doing extremely well on this drug, and we think we’re just too positive, too good, and healthy, and it might not be good for the other people in the other support group,'” Orem recalled to Deborah Doroshow, assistant professor of medicine, hematology, and medical oncology at the Tisch Cancer Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who is guest editor of the Cancer History Project during the month of June.

The support group of STI-571 participants started their own newsletter to document monthly meetings, and Orem would write about the main subject. 

A conversation with Orem is available here.

The following documents are the first and final editions of the STI Gazette, a newsletter of Orem’s support group, published in November 1999 and May 2002.